By Dez Duran-Lamanilao
Since it made landfall in Texas on the night of August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey has become the strongest hurricane to hit the US in more than ten years, and the most powerful one to hit Texas in more than 50 years. Catastrophic flooding has struck the region and residents near the area beneath the Barker Reservoir were finally forced to evacuate on August 31.
Below is a video published by CNN showing what Hurricane Harvey left behind:
While help is coming from all sources, the residents who have been greatly affected by the calamity are starting to deal with the aftermath, even if what lies ahead of them may be quite bleak, given the extent of destruction Harvey has so far caused.
Reports point to the following statistics:
- Data from property analytics firm CoreLogic reveals that insurers will only cover about 70% of the damages, since most of the damaged homes were not in high-risk flood zones and thus did not have flood coverage in their policies.
- The US disaster relief policy suggests that homeowners get almost zero federal relief for reconstruction.
- JPMorgan estimates that insured losses could reach as much as $10 billion to $20 billion.
- The Insurance Information Institute also disclosed that only 12% of homeowners nationwide have flood insurance.
- Predictions on the final cost differ, but preliminary estimate from weather forecast provider AccuWeather is around $190 billion. This is equal to the total cost of Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and represents a 1% economic impact to the gross national product.
Precisely how homeowners intend to rebuild their properties is a question they are asking themselves, amidst physical, emotional and mental difficulties. As the government and local and international experts begin assessing the damage inflicted by Hurricane Harvey, the residents’ struggles to move on continue. The crisis has opened up a lot of issues, problems and possible solutions in the future, but most importantly, lessons have been learned and sparks of hope begin to flicker.